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March 22. 2013 12:57AM

Maple Weekend: A glorious NH treat

No matter what the calendar says, it is not really spring in New Hampshire until Maple Weekend, when sugar shacks from Orford to Plaistow open a doorway to New Hampshire's past. Happily, it begins bright and early tomorrow morning.

If you have experienced Maple Weekend, you know the abundance of sensory pleasures it offers. If you have not, then you have deprived yourself of one of the great treats of life in the Granite State.

The world is full of modern indulgences. There are jaccuzi tubs, IMAX movies, elegant dinners, luxury cars. For children there are dazzling video games and magical concoctions of corn syrup and chemical flavorings. And yet there is a unique charm in the mix of sensations discovered when standing in the snow on a brisk March morning as the wind gently blows, dipping a cider doughnut into a cup of warm, fresh maple syrup, and taking in the beauty of this still rural state.

Though Maple Weekend is a tourist draw, it is a mistake to think of it as an event for flatlanders from out of state. This is a tradition for Granite Staters to cherish. These sugar producers are our friends and neighbors. The traditions they uphold are our traditions. They should be passed down to our children, not left for strangers to enjoy.

This weekend, 110 New Hampshire sugar shacks are offering syrup samples and boiling demonstrations. Some are offering sugar on snow, some pancakes, some cider doughnuts, some hot dogs boiled in syrup, some horse-drawn wagon or sleigh rides. No matter where in this great state you live, there is an operational sugar shack a short drive away. And this weekend it probably will be open, serving sweet treats to whomever wanders in. How can you resist?

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